What was it, two weeks ago that we were all angst-ridden about Chris Tillman and his inability to pitch efficiently enough to get into the seventh and eighth innings?
That's still an issue, but everyone who stayed up late last night and is dozing at a desk somewhere today saw just what he can do when his mechanics are right and he gets on a roll. He survived a couple of scary situations against an imposing Los Angeles Angels lineup and then put it on cruise control through the eighth in the series opener in Anaheim.
Will he do that every time out? Probably not, but he has found himself after a so-so start and the Orioles have won his last three games, in all of which he pitched at least six innings and gave up two or fewer runs.
Remember everybody, this guy is still just 25 years old and he was terrific during the second half of last season (9-3, 2.93). He looked a little shaky out of the gate this season, but so did everybody else in the Orioles rotation, perhaps because the elongated spring training knocked everybody out of their usual routine.
Last night, he threw 114 pitches over eight innings and allowed just three hits and two walks. He only struck out three, but his fastball was touching 94 mph and he got a lot of fly ball outs against a team that can make the ball fly out of the ballpark -- as Albert Pujols did to break up the shutout against Jim Johnson in the ninth inning.
Dating back to his first 2012 start on July 4, Tillman is 11-4 with a 3.13 ERA and the team is 14-7 in his 21 starts.